Levees.org gets reaction from Attorney Joe Bruno on the 5th Circuit tossing Katrina Canal Breaches: “This is politics, not law.”

In fact here is the exact quote via Levees.org:

This ruling is obscenely obnoxious. It’s as though the panel said in March that a red light is red, and supplied an abundance of reasons and precedents that the red light is red. But now, the panel says the red light is green, and says it in just one and a half pages. This is politics, not law.

I absolutely agree with Joe this is all about politics.  Joe Bruno in fact is an expert at wallowing in the political pig sty per Slabbed’s Porteous judicial impeachment coverage and yes, IMHO his mere presence would clear a room of respectable lawyers in under 30 seconds flat. (Links here, here and here).

Our readers can find an analysis of the case here (h/t Editilla).  I’ll add I heard from a defense attorney this week that took the exact opposite position on the interpretation of the sovereign immunity laws.  That said the about face does add an interesting twist.

Speaking of politics and lawyers that specialize in peddling political influence, Secret Agent 99 reports Bruno has been spotted cuddled up with Magnum in uptown social circles.  Additionally Navy Secretary Ray Mabus has been a frequent guest of lawyer Robert Becnel uptown.  Becnel is brother to self-proclaimed King of Torts Danny Becnel and a long time friend of Mabus.  I figure the sharks are circling the BP oil spill fine honey pot.

These are interesting times in the salons of uptown high society.  Though the secretary may disavow knowledge of our actions, Slabbed has accepted the assignment and has intelligence assets in place to bring this unfolding story home.

Sea Coast Echo story on Bay Waveland Schools buying Bay Tech building raises additional questions (UPDATED)

Earlier today I linked the Sea Coast Echo report on the Bay Waveland School Board’s purchase of the Bay Tech Building encouraging our readers to read it as reporter Geoff Belcher attempted to frame the story as a business spat between realtors.  I beg to differ and as I examined his story critically, especially the quotes from Mary Bunch, Avra O’Dwyer and School Board Attorney Ronnie Artigues, I ended up with more questions than answers.  Luckily for everyone I did some interviewing of my own so maybe I can answer some of these questions.

Belcher compartmentalizes the topic into “two major components to the controversy” but he missed a few components in the spin cycle so we need to first examine what we know and compare that to the quotes he snagged and the assertions he made.  Since I bring my day job skills to the blogging scene I’ll warn my new readers this won’t read like a newspaper guy wrote this story but I bet I can make everything understandable thus we begin with the disclosure of the people I interviewed for this post: Bill Washburn, former owner of the Bay Tech Building via his company Magnolia Group LLC, Lana Noonan with the Hancock County Alliance for Good Government, and Ms Avra O’Dwyer, owner of O’Dwyer Realty.  Before I get to their remarks I’d like to make a couple of observations so let’s quote from the end of the story, specifically the attributed remarks of School Board Attorney Ronnie Artigues with Butler Snow:

Artigues likened the process to the district’s recent purchase of two properties near Waveland Elementary to make room for road expansion there.

“We had to offer them the appraised value,” he said. “It’s no different, it doesn’t matter who the owner is.”

Mississippi is considered a non-disclosure state. Property owners are not required to reveal what theythemselves paid for the property to a prospective new buyer.

The $325,000 figure did not become public until Multiple Listing Service (MLS), a nation-wide real estate listing, added it to the Bay Tech description page.

“We got it for the lowest possible number based on the appraisal,” Artigues said, adding that the district was quite pleased with the price, at the time of the sale.

The assertion a govermnet has to offer “appraised value” in a privately negotiated real estate transaction is absurd. I’m not sure of the context of the reporters statement regarding the late date the transaction was entered into the MLS or how it fits. For instance is the reporter trying to hint at the fact the last sale of the building was not considered in the appraisal report the school district paid for after the August School Board meeting?  It simply isn’t clear. Continue reading “Sea Coast Echo story on Bay Waveland Schools buying Bay Tech building raises additional questions (UPDATED)

How the New Media rolls: Watch and learn boys and girls.

Rule number 1 here at Slabbed New Media is “attribute and source”. Rule #2 here at Slabbed New Media is “See rule #1”. I mention this because there is a sleazy underbelly to this biz where for profit entities ignore copy write. Slabbed has a creative commons license that is plainly displayed on the right sidebar. Anyone can freely use the work from this blog provided they attribute the source and agree to redistribute the work in a share and share alike manner. It is a very low bar indeed.

I mention this because yesterday evening the Sea Coast Echo put the following story up on their website regarding the unfolding scandal at the Bay Waveland School Board involving the purchase of the old Bay Tech building. I do not see Slabbed New Media attributed anywhere in that story. This is not the first time the Echo has ripped off Slabbed.

That said Geoff Belcher’s piece is worth the read because he nabbed quotes from Mary Bunch, Avra O’Dwyer and School Board Attorney Ronnie Artigues.  He frames the story as a controversy between realtors, which could not be farther from the truth as I’ve heard from the local Hancock County Alliance for Good Government and those folks are hopping mad.  I thought it was strange he did not have any quotes from the victim, Mr Bill Washburn, who has indicated to Slabbed he has retained counsel in this matter.  Finally I detect a wee bit of ass covering at the Echo, which misreported the seller originally despite the fact it was a public record both at the courthouse and at the school district.  Worth noting is the Echo’s major digital banner advertiser appears to be John McDonald Realty and School Board President Sherry Ponder is married to the editor of the Echo, who evidently didn’t run a spell check on the story before publishing it.

Worth remembering is the following article which Jr. linked a few months ago on Slabbed about a small town in North Carolina with an established, sold out local paper and an upstart that actually reported accurate news.  The internet killed the gatekeeper years ago but in some corners of small town America that message has not yet sunk in.  I’m going to let the documents tell this story because the devil is in the details as we’ll continue to follow the money.

From the reader email bag: A request for perspective.

Q. Many of your and nola.com readers are exercised about the relatively light punishments coming up for Broussard, Wilkinson, and Whitmer (BWW), but these readers seem to believe either that these are the targets or that they are stepping stones to the final targets, Heebe and Ward. Do you think these are really the targets? It would seem to me the DOJ would be much more interested in the true sleazebags: Alario, Foster, Tauzin, and maybe others. For example, why did Foster support Heebe for US Attorney? Can Heebe give them Foster? If the targets are the bigger fish, wouldn’t it be better to get BWW over with and not drag their trials out for 10 years like Jefferson?

Please provide us the big picture. Thanks.

Uptown Music

A. I’ve heard the big picture expressed a couple of different ways and am interested to hear what the commenters think. The media consensus is that Heebe is the final target but the media tends to focus on the short term and there is a sense indictments are coming. There is renewed speculation on the streets about 3 Jefferson Parish councilmen that were on the Parish Council back in 2004. But in the scheme of things they too are small fish. Continue reading “From the reader email bag: A request for perspective.”

I had another visit today with my gabby cousin Slabb O’Leak

All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages.

Late next week I have the mother of documents dumps coming folks. Included in those docs is a special delivery to Fred from Aaron. But there was something else too.

I have sources that are insisting Fred Heebe will never go to jail

Did anyone notice Big Fred’s 60th birthday party at his palace on St. Charles last Friday? I bet it cost several hundreds of thousands of dollars to throw. A drop in the bucket when you have River Birch. That public display of extravagance was a direct middle finger to the US Attorney’s Office and an indirect middle finger to the people of Waggaman who are dying and to the tax payers of Jeff Parish.

Reader comment on the first installment of the excellent 6 part NOLA.com expose on the River Birch Landfill.

Luckily for the Slabbed Nation a reader happened by Fred’s mansion late last week when the party was setting up and he sent me a few pictures. First the portable power plant to power the party tent:

Setting up for the Heebe birthday party last week at the mansion on St Chas / Photo Courtesy of a reader

And the party tent itself:

Continue reading “I have sources that are insisting Fred Heebe will never go to jail”

Slabbed checks in with the Legal Department at the Super 8 Motel to present the latest Goatherder jackassery

Let’s start with this story by Allen Powell, Plaquemines School Board finance director indicted on theft charge.

The finance director for the Plaquemines Parish School Board has been indicted by a grand jury in connection with the theft of more than $46,000 from the school system.

Joyce Green, 50, 5148 Oak Bayou Road in Marrero, was charged with two counts of theft of more than $500 and one count of malfeasance in office by a Plaquemines Parish grand jury on Thursday, said District Attorney Charles Ballay.

Green is accused of asking a finance clerk to issue three checks for a total of about $77,000 in May for work she said she had completed. However, Ballay said that Green, who received two payments but not the third, was not entitled to the money, and that the school system has no record that she completed the work.

And now Abel spins that into the following defamation fantasy: Continue reading “Slabbed checks in with the Legal Department at the Super 8 Motel to present the latest Goatherder jackassery”